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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Song of the Week! 13 October 2018

It's Hakurei Shrine Reitasai time again, and this time around even the Taiko series gets invited to its Autumn outing as well!

Let's celebrate with a look at the 2nd song that kickstarted the inclusion of Touhou Project arrangements in Namco's drumming rhythm game...

 Bad Apple!! feat. nomico Touhou Project Arrange - Alstroemeria Records
Allx3 (181)x5 (261)x6 (417)x8 (544)
 Taiko 0 S (promo only), 0 M, Taiko PS Vita, Taiko Switch, Taiko +
 Game Music -> Variety

By this point it's almost a given in Japanese music gaming that if a Touhou Project arrangement gets ported to an arcade, it's most assuredly going to me a song arrangement from the Windows-era games and the related official media. If, however, we want to look at an exception that confirms such rule, it's hard to miss what is commonly credited in the fandom as one of those custom arrangements whose popularity alone has dragged lots new people to the indie danmaku/fighting series' lore, year after year!

Making its debut during the 4th Reitasai (May 20th, 2007) as one of the tracks featured in the Lovelight doujin album, Bad Apple!! feat. nomico is easily the most known Touhou arrange by the Alstroemeria Records unit, founded in 2004 by composer/arranger/DJ Masayoshi Minoshima (簑島正佳). The track's title is a direct reference to the original song on which this arrange is based (Bad Apple!!), featured in the fourth mainline Touhou Game -Lotus Land Story- as the Stage 3 BGM. Masayoshi Minoshima himself is the arranged song's composer, with the Alstroemeria Records circle's recurring guest singer nomico lending her voice to the lyrics set penned by the nick-named Haruka. This vocal arrangement of Bad Apple!!'s popularity has to be mainly given to an infamous fan-made musical video in shadow-art on Nicovideo (link), a video that still stands tall as one of the website's most watched on the platform since its inception. The viral magnitude has been so high to the point of a Bad Apple!! clip being spotlighted in American national television, no less! (even if yeah, more than often times the related source material wasn't mentioned during such reports...)

Masayoshi Minoshima has been really open across the years to feature Bad Apple!! remixes in some of his circle's subsequent albums, either being made by himself or by guest artists like Ryo Ohnuki and REDALiCE. As the year 2017 clocked by and the nomico-powered arrangement turned 10 years old, the Alstroemeria Records circle has planned a guest-artist-centered project in the same vein of some other Touhou arranges we've already seen under these lines (mainly Cirno's Perfect Math Class, Night of Knighs and Scream Out!); the final resulting product, however, was so big on external artist contributions to be spanned across three different albums, all being titled 10th Anniversary Bad Apple!!: the original 1st album (14th Reitasai), a PHASE 2 and a PHASE 3 release for the 93rd and 94th editions of Comiket respectively.

Needless to say, such an overwhelming appreciation for the song has led it to be one of the most ported Touhou Project arrangements to Japanese music gaming to this day. In no particular order, here's a list of all the games featuring the song thus far:
Masayoshi Minoshima also had a number of different credited roles in music gaming as a result, both with original songs as well as other Touhou Project arrangements. For examples of the former group, we have beatmania IIDX's BRAVE OUT (with nomico), CHUNITHM's SNIPE WHOLE and Groove Coaster's Analysis Division; concerning the latter category, we can count some series-bound exclusives like Struggle (link to the REFLEC BEAT port) and Border of Colour (Groove Coaster).

Taiko Team notecharter Sasaoka (ササオカ) handled Bad Apple!!'s Taiko charts, whose playable debut dates back to the 2nd Niconico Super Conference as an event-limited song that got ported a year lòater in the subsequent Taiko arcade firmware. Mostly flowing under a constant BPM value, the song's challenge degree is all into the cluster handswitching setups that have to be taken in order to properly tackle both Kat-based clusters and tempo switching between 1/16 and 1/12 note patterns.

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